Roseland Theatre

11331 S. Michigan Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60628

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Showing 1 - 25 of 58 comments

DavidZornig on March 16, 2018 at 11:50 am

Then & Now comparison photo added courtesy of Brad Cornelius.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 16, 2013 at 12:31 am

The William Swanson Company was operating a movie house called the Roseland Theatre in this neighborhood at least as early as September, 1908. I haven’t discovered the exact location of this early theater, so I don’t know if it was this same house and it was later expanded (it seated fewer than 600 in 1909), or if the 1914 Roseland was an entirely new theater that replaced the original.

kencmcintyre on March 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Here is a November 1955 ad from the Suburbanite Economist:

brianlewis on September 9, 2008 at 11:19 am

thanks for the post…..I went to Mendel H.S. and have been on that corner often(there’s a GREAT doughnut shop there now).

Broan on September 9, 2008 at 11:15 am

View link

This postcard shows what it looked like before remodelling

tbacilek on July 3, 2008 at 5:19 pm

I grew up above Hufnagel’s Bakery at 118th St and Michigan Ave, kitty corner from the Homestore. Reading about ice skating till late at night under playground lights behind Scanlan brought back fond memories.Thank goodness we could warm up in the field house otherwise I might have lost a few toes to frostbite. I still carry the scar where Jimmy Bonifito pushed me across a slick patch of ice and into a bench. Does anyone recall the pool? Or, the elaborate holiday bazaars at the school? We went to the Normal all the time, walking there via alleys which were filled with hollyhocks growing wildly around the garages. I saw MASH there like 4 times during the movie’s first run. A trip up the Dime Store or the Sky Hi would require running swiftly under the viaduct to avoid the junk yard, which was creepy and sinister, perhaps haunted. Every kid knew that. Once my sister got lost in Gately’s. She was found behind the men’s counter inside a glass cabinet. One summer, I discovered the cool stuff the local tap, Bob & Gerry’s, would toss out. Terrific bottles, crates and beer signs. Odd bedroom decor for an 8 year old. My greatest joy though (next to ice skating) was a trip to Ray’s and his marvelously stocked penny candy counter. Thank you for posting; wonderful to read other comments.

JonPutnam on December 20, 2007 at 4:28 pm

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES (December 7, 1997)

“The past peels away — Return trip to Roseland"
by Curtis Lawrence

I guess it’s an exercise repeated generation after generation. We trek back to our childhood neighborhoods looking for pieces of the past.

My dad, who grew up in Englewood, still does it. Even though in his late 70s, he’s often in awe that many of the houses where he and his three sisters grew up are now gone.

Recently, my trek was to Roseland. I’ve been back within the last several years and have seen the demise of former haunts – the Roseland Theater on 113th Place and Michigan and Gately’s Peoples department store on 112th.

The Roseland, where my brother and I would go to see movies like “Cotton Comes to Harlem” back in the 1970s, is now boarded up.

Looking through one of the open windows recently, I could see the paint peeling off the walls.

The signs are still up for Gately’s, but it’s been long closed and chopped up into smaller stores like Giant Beauty Supply.

So I found myself wearing the same puzzled look my dad often wears when he goes back to Englewood. To try to figure things out, I looked up a former teacher who still lives in Roseland, and a longtime housing activist.

“It was abandoned by a lot of people who should not have abandoned it,” said J. Quinn Brisben, my old history teacher at Harlan High School who has lived near 100th and Cottage Grove for more than 30 years.

“A lot of people thought it was the end of the world,” said Brisben, who is white.

“I tried to tell them it wasn’t.”

I wouldn’t have expected Brisben to go anywhere. He’s a longtime civil rights activist and was a former member of the Congress of Racial Equality. I even had the privilege of voting for him when he ran for U.S. president on the Socialist Party ticket in 1992.

But many of his white neighbors did pull out, with businesses and jobs hot on their trail.

While the main business strip on Michigan Avenue was hit hardest, Brisben said large parts of Roseland haven’t changed much.

It’s still a working-class neighborhood, with faces changed from white to black. And the housing stock is starting to make a comeback.

“A number of people have gotten their places fixed up and you don’t see the boarded-up windows like you used to.”

Willie Lomax, longtime director of the Chicago Roseland Coalition for Community Control, sees it too.

“In the last five years, Roseland has begun to turn around,” Lomax said. Banks, some encouraged by lawsuits, have done better jobs of investing in the community.

A mini-mall at 115th and Michigan is on the horizon and Lomax said he’s more optimistic than he’s been in a long time.

Lomax, who was a janitor at the old Walgreens on 111th and Michigan in the 1950s, knows the story of Roseland better than just about anybody.

But there are days when even he’s stunned by the transformation.

“Sometimes you look at the vacant lots and the abandoned buildings and you say to yourself, `What happened?‘”

datoad on October 31, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Natalie and Doug
A friend from Roseland sent me a really great sight. If you are still out there send me your email address and I will foreward it
Mine is


0711 on June 2, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Wow this is wonderful that we have this site out here to remind us of the place where we grew up. :–) You know what we say my love (Natalie) is that we grew up here and we are just fine. I hope your mother is having fun visiting you in CA. Mabye I will take some vacation days to come see you, before you come to Chicago. I love you and miss you dearly.

your baby,


Nataliejoy on October 26, 2006 at 3:50 pm

John, sorry about the Myasthenia :–( I did a rotation at Rush in 2003 (Children’s Hospital of course). HUGE hospital!! I lost 5 pounds that month just from all the walking, so I know what you mean!

datoad on October 25, 2006 at 5:51 am

Reference the Verdi Theater. Check out this sight. My uncle was big in the Moose Club there. They bought it from the owners of the Verdi.
View link

datoad on October 24, 2006 at 6:44 pm

I always try to go back to Chicago area in the spring. Can’t take the cold weather anymore. Marriott Corp transferred me back there in 1993-94 and I lived in Lemont. Like to froze to death! I worked at Rush Presyterian Hospital as Environmental Services manager. Walked 8 to 10 hours a shift (12 hour shifts). Can’t walk 100 yards now without resting due to Myasenthia Gravis. Old age sucks!

Nataliejoy on October 24, 2006 at 6:27 pm

Thanks for the site John! It’s almost like being back home :–) The photos are nice, especially of St. Catherine’s of Genoa th and Lowe. It merged in the 90s with Assumption BVM (123rd &Parnell I think). My aunt worked at both.

Thanks for knowing what it feels like to be out here. People always ask why in the world would I want to go back to Chicago – but that’s where my heart is. Winter weather is great but it just isn’t Chicago! Luckily I get to go home for Christmas.

datoad on October 24, 2006 at 5:04 pm

Sorry to hear you are homesick in California. But any normal person would want to be anyplace other than California. I spent years there in the Navy and later working for Marriott as a contract manager. I finally told them I was quitting unless they transferred me to Las Vegas and had actually found a new job. They transferred me and, other than a couple trips to see friends, I have not gone back!

datoad on October 24, 2006 at 3:35 pm

Check out this sight. Great photo album of Roseland shots
View link
You have to register to leave comments but it’s free. I tried to identify what I knew but some of the buildings, although familiar, I couldn’t remember

Nataliejoy on October 23, 2006 at 8:59 pm

Hi Derrick! Yes I know the Hoagy shop – I believe that it is still there on 111th street. So your family came after my family moved in, as we’ve been on King Drive since 1974. Most of my friends in the neighborhood went to Pullman, and a few of my friends also went to Julian as did your wife.

Are you referring to the donut shop on 112th &Michigan on the west side of the street? If so they are still there (I believe they opened in the early 70s) and they have delicious, decadent donuts.

As for the park (Palmer) I spent many, many hours there as a kid/teen. I don’t know Mrs. Grant, but every block/every other block had a ‘candy lady’ who sold snacks :–)

I miss Roseland too and can’t wait to go back home! I am very homesick out here in California :–( Take care all!

datoad on October 22, 2006 at 11:13 pm

BY the way Derrick, you might be confusing the Rose Bowl on 115th and Michigan with a theater. Roseland Camera was on the corner of 115th and Michigan and Pannoza’s Deli was next to the Rose Bowl. Great Itlaian Beef sandwiches. I used to go to Rose Bowl every Saturday night with a friend and bowl 12 games each, 30 cents a game!
Even remember when they had pin spotters before they put in the automatic’s.

datoad on October 22, 2006 at 11:10 pm

Most people who grew up in Roseland have fond memories. It was definetly a middle class friendly community where everyone in the neighborhood knew each other. I miss it!

Derrick on October 22, 2006 at 8:04 pm

Hello Natalie and John. I must say I truly enjoyed reading your comments. I lived on Edgebrook for approx. 5yrs from 77-82 during my early childhood. I too attended George M. Pullman. It’s very exciting to be able to get the perspectives from people of diffrent eras on the transition of what was truly a fun and safe place to live.

It’s funny how I came to find this site. I was simply trying to settle a bet between my wife (who lived on 112th and Indiana and graduated from Pullman and Julian High) and I. We were in Chicago this weekend and were riding through Roseland. Niether one of us could remember exactly where The theater was located. She thought it was between 113-114th, and I 117-118th. I guess she won. :) Thank you Cinema Treasures for clearing this up, lol. I could have sworn that there was a theater south of the railroad tracks on Michigan?

We live in Champaign, IL now. We both attended the University of
Illinois. She is a K-teacher and I am a General Sales Manager of large auto dealership. Anyway, I was excited to read your dialogue becasue it brought back so many fond memories for me. My wife lived there just about all her life until college (coincidentally this is where we met). Because her parents home is still there we get to visit the area often when we are in town.

Some of my fondest memories of the area, and Natalie can probably attest to this, are the Hoagy shop (Taurus Ice Cream palor on the hill), the Texas Doughnut shop (the biggest and best tasting doughnuts I have ever eaten) and Gatley’s. I remember, my friends and I would take our little pocket change and buy pomegranates( red fruit with the little red seeds). We would walk down the street happy as can be while we devoured them. After closing time Gately’s really meant a lot to us. Because the parking garage became our playground. We played tag and raced our bikes and skateboards down the ramps. We were kids and we had lots of fun.

Natalie, if you ever spent any time at the park? Then you had to be introduced to Mrs. “Grants Candy Corner”. Mrs. Grant sold all kinds of goodies from her home. She had candy, cookies, ice cups ,soda, chips, hot dogs, everthing. She was the neighborhood mom. All the kids knew and loved her. Hot pickles and pepermint sticks were my flavor of choice.

Thanks for taking me back guys. I could go on forever talking about Roseland.

Nataliejoy on October 10, 2006 at 4:17 pm

John – I didn’t know that the new course is over the dump! I didn’t know the CSU golfers play there. It looks so pretty that you’d never know it was once a dump.

Doug – I remember the Home Stores too. The Baptist church that was once housed in the Catholic church th and Indiana ran a religious bookstore out of the Home Store th &Michigan before moving to the old DeKoven; that whole mart at 115th and Michigan now is torn down. Plaza Hardware relocated farther down on 115th.

BTW that Baptist Church now has a HUGE bldg at 114th &Doty.

Broan on October 10, 2006 at 2:44 pm

I was at the Hotel Florence a couple of months ago. Still a lot of beauty inside, but it needs a huge amount of work too.

datoad on October 10, 2006 at 11:27 am

Doty Ave from 103rd to 123rd going by Lake Calumet was 2 lanes, 1 north and 1 south. YOu could walk across it and go fishing.
I found that Gately’s sight on-line a couple years ago. The grandchildren of Gately sre running it. They opened a store in Tinley Park after the one on Michigan Ave closed but it went under.
I’ve seen that golf course. IT’s built over the garbage dump. That’s why there are no trees. They would break the crust and allow methane gas to escape. There are vents all around it to relieve pressure. THat’s where Chicago State Golf teams play. I learned to drive in the parking lot of dump on 103rd East of Doty.

dougbruton on October 10, 2006 at 10:13 am

Howdy Natalie,
I agree, Gately’s was a great adventure for a young person in the 40’s. I moved back to Texas in 1946, but I have some fond memories of Roseland. I also lived around 63rd street at a couple of locations, but don’t remember the addresses…one was on St. Lawrence. I lived on Perry Ave, across the street from Scanlan Elementary and also at 23 East 118th St., just a couple of houses behind The Home Store…I spent a lot of time with a girl named Joan Rosenbloom..her family owned the store on 118th and Michigan Ave.
Would like to share memories with you when you have time..Doug

Nataliejoy on October 10, 2006 at 10:05 am

Did anyone ever go to Cal Harbor Restaurant? For years it was on the corner of 115th and Cottage right across from the IC station. It moved to the other end of the block, still on 115th street. I think the new location is bigger.

Doug, I loved going to Gately’s People store too when I was a little girl. I remember my parents bought me this great yellow bookbag from there. It closed many years ago. There is some scaffolding now at the parking garage – I don’t know if it will be torn down or if there will be revitalization. In the late 80s there was a nice teen club in the Gately’s bldg on the north side of the bldg, down the hill. They served snacks and had nice music and a dance floor. Did you know Gately’s now does sales online?

Nataliejoy on October 10, 2006 at 10:04 am
  • To John: Doty is still a 2-lane road on both sides of the Calumet Expressway. Speaking of golf, there is a new golf course with a lake at 109th and Doty and it’s really beautiful. I’ve been to the banquet hall there 2ce in the past year. Let me assure you that Sherwin Williams still causes a stink sometimes! About 10 years ago there was some accident there that caused areas south of 115th to evacuate. About the Hotel Florence – I wanted to go on the historic tour of Pullman, but I ran out of time. The hotel still looks beautiful on the outside.
  • I think I remember that soda fountain you mentioned. There was a restaurant there, still with the counter &stools, but it closed some years ago.
  • The LA riots in the early 1990s sucked. Discrimination is wrong regardless of who does it and to whom its being done. And about your dad – even if he was an Archie Bunker type, even Archie was lovable, so I’m sure your dad was too. Take care :–)